Filing a Lawsuit Against the State of Maryland

Filing a Maryland injury lawsuit can be more complicated when the state government is the defendant in the case. One potential complication is that a plaintiff must first provide notice when filing a claim against the state of Maryland in a personal injury claim.

Under section 12-106 of the Maryland Tort Claims Act (the Act), a claimant cannot bring a claim under the Act unless the claimant submits a written claim to the Treasurer within one year after the injury. The Treasurer then must deny the claim before the claim can be filed in court. The claim also must be filed within three years after the cause of action arises. There are some exceptions to the rule, for example, if the state has actual or constructive notice of the injury or of the defect within the year following the injury. The notice must comply with the requirements detailed in section 12-107 of the Act, which include a statement of facts and specific damages.

A recent case demonstrates how strictly notice requirements can be construed. In that case, an appeals court considered whether an estimate of damages in a notice to a city complied with the notice requirement. The plaintiff sent her notice to the city, notifying the city that she broke her leg after she stepped in a hole on a city crosswalk. She claimed that the city was negligent because residents had notified the city about the hole, and the city failed to repair it. In the notice, the plaintiff stated that “to the extent that [she] was require[d] to provide a dollar value,” she believed the value of the claim “may exceed $300,000.00.” She also stated that if the letter did not provide sufficient notice under the state, the city should advise her immediately in writing, and that she would correct any deficiencies. The woman subsequently filed suit in court. The city then responded to the notice, stating that the city denied liability. In response to the lawsuit, the city argued that the plaintiff had not complied with the notice requirement.

The relevant statute required that the notice to the city includes “the specific amount of monetary damages being sought,” and that the claim would constitute an offer of compromise. The court held that the plaintiff failed to include a specific amount of monetary damages. Even though the plaintiff was still receiving medical treatment, she still could have included any prospective future costs into the specified monetary amount. Therefore, the notice did not provide a real offer of compromise, and did not substantially comply with the statute. In addition, her request that the city notify her if the notice failed to comply with the requirements did not create an obligation on the city to notify the plaintiff that her notice was insufficient.

Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in a Maryland slip and fall accident, contact a Maryland accident lawyer at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen. Many accidents take place in public places and may involve state or local governments. It is crucial to act promptly in these cases and seek legal advice as soon as possible. Because of the particular requirements involved in these cases, they often require substantial investigation even before notice or a claim can be filed. Our attorneys will guide you through the legal process, including the initial investigation, settlement negotiations, and litigation. Call us at (800) 654-1949 or contact us online today.

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